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Stephan Bonnar Leaning Towards Retirement, Unless Major Name Comes His Way

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Since beating Kyle Kingsbury last November, Stephan Bonnar has spent quite a bit of time lobbying for a TUF coaching spot opposite Forrest Griffin or a match against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Right now, it appears neither of those requests are likely to be granted, and if neither materializes, we might have seen the last of Bonnar in the cage.

The longtime UFC veteran who helped propel mixed martial arts into a television staple with his role in a 2005 fight with Griffin said that unless some major fight offer came his way, he'd be at peace with retirement.

"Put it this way, I have no interest in fighting the next big thing before the world realizes the talent of the guy," he said on Wednesday night's UFC on FUEL 4 post-fight show. "I've done that too much in my career, and I'm near the end of it. So if it's not meant to be, if us being [TUF] coaches isn't meant to be, then it isn't meant to be. I've just got to accept that and move on. It's fine with me, it really is."

The topic came up after an interview with UFC president Dana White, who was asked about Bonnar's future, and revealed that the last time they spoke, Bonnar mentioned retirement.

If he did call it quits, he would be going out on a high note, having won his last three fights, with consecutive victories over Kingsbury, Igor Pokrajac and Krzysztof Soszynski.

Bonnar was part of the first class of TUF back in 2005, alongside other future UFC staples like Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian and Chris Leben.

Nate Quarry, who like Bonnar has transitioned to commentary work, but for Spike, was the first of the high-profile group to retire, followed shortly thereafter by Kenny Florian, who is now a key part of FUEL's broadcasting team.

Bonnar advanced to the season one finale, where he lost to Griffin in a close but unanimous decision. At the time, Bonnar memorably collapsed to the mat when the decision was read, only to have UFC president Dana White announce that he, too, would receive a contract. The fight drew a massive audience to Spike and ensured a second season of TUF, paving the way for future success.

Bonnar (14-7) won eight of his 14 octagon encounters, with a notable win over Keith Jardine and losses to eventual champions Griffin, Rashad Evans and Jon Jones.